9 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Very good value for money
"We have just returned from a week at the Praia Sol in Vilamoura/Quarteira, we stayed half board and although breakfast became boring towards the end, we had a different 3 course meal each night which we were impressed with - it was so much cheaper than eating out too! We also had lunch there a few days and this was cheap and of good quality. We never had a problem getting a sun lounger at all times of the day which made a nice change! After reading other reports we decided not to use the enclosed walk way down to the Marina, but if you walk out the front of the hotel it is a 3minute walk down to the beach, then about 7/8 minutes along the front to the Marina. We used this route during the evening as well as the day time and never felt unsafe!! Vilamoura is a lovely resort which I would reccommend for couples/families. Albufeira is more lively and full of English bars & restaurants.
I would recommend this hotel to friends, and maybe return in the future."
- Travel date: Mon 20th of July 2009
Nice hotel, dangerous location.....
"Myself and 11 male friends have just returned from 7 days golf in Portugal staying at the Hotel Praia Sol, Vilamoura. We felt it necessary, as a group, to provide some current information about the hotel and more importantly it's terrible location which leaves you very vulnerable to physical attack as some of our party found out to their cost. This seems to be a regular occurrence which, from our experience the local Police have little interest in. Vilamoura itself is going downhill with drug dealers frequently offering you Cocaine as you walk around the marina. This did not happen on our previous visits.
Firstly as a group we have visited Vilamoura in 2005, 2007 and again in May 2009. We have always stayed previously at the Hotel Dom Pedro Golf where we have had no problems. On this occasion we stayed at the Praia Sol which is directly behind the Dom Pedro but there is no access between them.
I will break this information into 3 parts:
1. The Hotel Praia Sol
2. The hazards of coming and going from it
3. Vilamoura â not as safe as it used to be
Please read all for your own safety.
1. There is no getting away from the fact that this is a very nice, modern and comfortable little hotel. It is a little light on staff with only 1 or 2 people seeming to do a lot of different jobs. The rooms are well appointed, clean and have air conditioning. Ours had a bath and shower and the hotel was very quiet and peaceful to stay in. We stayed Bed and Breakfast. The breakfasts were light with a cooked or continental option, we had both most days! There is a bar in reception and a nice grassed pool area with plenty of loungers and umbrellas for sitting out. It is a private area with a surrounding hedge and high fence (security â more later). In all if you are after a quiet holiday in Vilamoura and do not wish to leave the confines of the hotel, ever, then this may suit you. Off the beaten track and no issues with late night drunkenness and such noise.
2. The hotel is located next to a dubious area of town to the back. At the rear of the hotel is a narrow lane about 300 metres long which is fenced on both sides. A security gate in the rear fence gives you access to/from the hotel. You have to ask staff to open it for you when leaving and press a buzzer and wait for them to answer when returning. The lane leads to the main road and then to the marina area and is the most convenient way of getting about. To the front there is a walk along a quiet road to the beach and around the back of the casino to the main centre. Both of these walks are dangerous, especially at night, and be warned that if you decide to take these routes you are putting yourself a risk of robbery.
3. When walking home one night 2 of our group were attacked in the lane to the rear of the hotel by 2 males and robbed of their possessions. One required medical attention, both were assaulted physically. On getting into the hotel afterwards the night porter called Police who turned up, seemed totally uninterested and left.
As part of the group, and a Police Officer in the UK myself, they got me up and we tried to have the matter dealt with. It is another matter that our tour company were little help via their 24 hour helpline. We all took a taxi to the Police Office and on arrival we obviously disturbed the 2 officers from their night in front of the TV. By using a translation App on my IPhone I managed to tell them what had happened.
They were clearly not interested in investigating the incident telling us they did not have translators (in a tourist resort!) and that we would have to come back with one later that day. Ultimately we would not go away and they took us back to the hotel where the night porter acted as translator. Back to the Police Office for them to log it on their computer and they spent a lot of time laughing and chatting with a friend who popped in to see them. Nice. Paperwork completed they drove us back to the hotel, tyres screeching round every corner and breaking every road law, without even getting statements from the 2 victims or asking for anything else in terms of description etc.
In conversation they said it had been a long difficult night as there had also been a car crash and that solving the robbery would be "complicated". Really, something you should really be aware of if you want to be in the Police. Not everything is solved in a 30 minute TV programme!
It seems to me that the standard of policing in Portugal is of the lowest standard and if any of my officers had conducted themselves in such a way with a robbery victim in the UK I would have been looking to take formal action for neglect of duty.
No matter what the time of day or night I would only recommend coming and going from this hotel by taxi or other transfer for your own safety as there is potential for you to be attacked and robbed at any time on the quiet paths you must take to walk to the centre and marina. We, nor anyone else we spoke to at the hotel, would ever go back to the Praia Sol purely because of the location.
I'm afraid the local authorities and hotel owners really need to grasp the problems that are now on their doorstep with crime, drugs and a police service that is so far out of date as to be unfit for purpose. Every popular resort has their problems but it is the reaction of the local authorities and Police that can prevent it from sliding into the gutter. If nothing is done soon Vilamoura will slide into the same mire as other resorts before them. Along with many others we spoke to it is likely we will not be spending our time, or money, in Vilamoura again."
- Travel date: Tue 16th of June 2009
Very clean and friendly Hotel, had a great time
"My first trip to Vilamoura/Quartiera. The hotel was very clean and friendly. The owner Maria was very helpful and accomadating. Christina the receptionisit/bar person/ waitress. was also very helpful. The room was cleaned every day and was very good. It was a short walk into either Quartiera or the marina at Vilamoura from either the rear door or the front entance. The pool although smallish was good and clean and there was always plenty of sun loungers available. The breakfast was always the same: fruit and yoghurt, breads and meats and cheese, cereals, srambled egg,sausage and beans. The evening meals were varied and of good quality.. There was no evening entertainment unless you wanted watch T.V. Some noisy golfers spoilt the tranquilty of this hotel, but they were out all day and went into the town at night but were noisy when they returned in the eary hours of the morning."
- Travel date: Thu 21st of May 2009
Highs & Lows
"We were a party of 8 eight 'mature' golfers. This was a suitable venue for our requirements. As others have said breakfasts limited. We did not eat dinner but reviews from other residents were not good. Guests tended to be Golfers and senior citizens with a splattering of business. Small comfortable hotel never a problem getting a sun bed. Pool small and cold but pools do tend to be cold in May. Management were freindly and helpful. More homely feel than the bigger hotels we have stayed in in the past. Afraid our trip was spoiled by a party of 14 yobs from the London area who the management appeared unable to control. We will be returning to Vilamoura for golf next year and will consider the hotel but because of the noise for a few nights from that one party (none of which were golfers I would add!) we may consider elsewhere."
- Travel date: Fri 15th of May 2009
Handy for most things
"We booked last min, 1 week BB, Flights,transfers 5 airport parking for Â£750 so we didn't kbnow what to expect. We were pleasently suprised.
It's not a big hotel and all the staff are freindly. It's set on a residential area (not a council estate) which if your going there via hire car makes it a little hard to find. Our Taxi spent a little while going down various dead ends before he found it.If you do get lost head for the floodlights of the local sports stadia.
The room is big enough with aircon plus some UK TV and a balcony, from which the views are not great. The choice of breakfast can get a bit samey but when the exchange rate is 1-4-1 with the Â£, eat as much as you can and take a travel kettle,it'll save you a bit of cash.
We're 'young 'late 40's (stop it at the back) but most other guests seemed older than us which made for a very quiet time. The pool is big enough for a quick dip but be warned it is absolutely freezing.
The location is what we liked the most. Out the front a 10 minite walk to the beach. Before you get there you wil go past a load of motorhomes. At first we thought it was a travellers camp but it's older people from all over europe who move around this part of the world during winter. Quite a few are from the UK. Go talk to them they know where to shop & eat if your on a budget. When you get to the beach Quateria is another 10 mins to the left.
Go out the back to an alley via the back gate. Make sure you tell them at reception to open the gate for you,otherwise it's a long wait. Turn left,to the end,turn right, cross the road, across McD's carpark and down any side street on the right to Villamoura marina, 10 minites at most.
The alley can look a bit daunting late at night but we didn't have any probs.To get back in there's a buzzer to the left of the gate. it can take a few mins for them to open it.
When we've got a spare week and a little cash we will return to Praia Sol. It did what we wanted it to."
- Travel date: Sun 22nd of February 2009
Rooms nice, staff not so great
"Myself and my boyfriend have just returned from a week at the hotel Praia Sol in Quarteira. The hotel itself is lovely and modern, although the bathroom lets the rooms down a bit. Breakfast was the same every day bread and yoghurts along with sausages, beans and scrambled egg - after a week we did get a bit sick of this. We ate in the restaurant several times, and were impressed. If you've just booked bed and breakfast then you have to select your option in advance. Having read other reviews we were a bit disappointed by the attitude of the staff, which we found to be somewhat brusque. I would not recommend this hotel for young couples in the winter months, as it is mainly elderly people staying there for long periods of time, and we felt really out of place. The hotel is really close to Villamoura Marina which was lovely. The food around the marina is ok, but every restaurant seemed to serve the same sort of thing. We wouldn't recommend going into Quarteira at night as there were some rather dodgy people around. It would probably be ok in the summer when the nights are lighter, but not great in the winter. Overall we did have a nice holiday, but there's not that much to do out of season apart from golf."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of January 2009
Great for Golfers
"Just returned from a six night golfing trip for 8 to this hotel.
The place is very clean inside and out, although pool was freezing. Rooms are ideal with a great shower & good air con. Staff are very friendly and helpful.
We stayed on a B&B basis, so we never tried the restaurant/dinning room apart from breakfast.
Breakfast was the same every morning with sausage, beans, scrambled eggs, cold meats & cheese.
We were told that if we wanted to dine in the evening we would need to let staff know the night before, in order that they could buyenough fresh produce the next day.
Hotel bar is very reasonable, and stays open till last person heads to bed.
The area around the hotel looks a bit run down but very quite. As with most other reviews, the back gate is ideal for a quick route to the marina area (out gate, turn left to end of lane. turn right and cut through Mcdonalds car park on the left and you are at the marina. 5 - 8 mins). Turn left at end of lane and the Casino is 5 mins walk, just before the Casino on the right is a small row of bars. We found Grogans to have a good pint and friendly staff and customers.
We heard that some people had been advised not to use the back gate late at night, but some of us came back that way at 4 in the morning with no probs. However a taxi will only cost you 3 or 4 Euros.
When we stayed here there was 3 or 4 groups of golfers and perhaps 8 to 10 couples, no children the week we stayed.
The hotel is ideal for a golfing trip as it is pretty central for all the courses (we played the Old Course, Villa Sol & both Vale do Lobo courses all within 15 mins of hotel).
Enjoy your stay, we did."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of October 2008
What to know
"1. Hotel is located between Quarteira and Vilamoura - I recommend a car, but Vilamoura marina can be reached in about 15 minutes walking.
2. Hotel is brand new - opened in 2007 and is very clean.
3. Breakfast is simple but good relative to European standards.
4. Rooms are comfortable - ask for a bar fridge if you need one, but beware that it wont function when you are not in the room because the electricity which runs the fridge is only on when you are in the room.
5. Take soap with you as the staff dont refill this (especially if you are there for a long stay).
6. Good aircon in room.
7. Helpful reception wrt transport and logistics, but unable to provide information on entertainment such as where to eat/see etc.
8. Very quiet and peaceful location and overall would recommend the hotel.
9. As an aside - Quarteira is not the best location in the Algarve, it is a bit run down and has some dodgy characters. But this hotel is not really in Quarteira and is in a good area. But be careful if you book in Quarteira.
- Travel date: Mon 21st of July 2008
"Myself and significant other spent a week in this new 3 star hotel in Quarteira/Vilamoura. Good breakfast choice. Rooms cleaned daily and double bed made a nice change! Good air-conditioning in room. The hotel was literally a 5 minute walk to the beach and 10 mins to the marina in Vilamoura. Very friendly if laid back staff. Would revisit and recommend highly to couples/families."
- Travel date: Wed 16th of July 2008